I am posting in hopes to helping some of you that may be misdiagnosed like I was. MAYBE IT’S YOUR NECK – If you have neck pain, pain behind your ears, base of head, pain behind both eyes (migraines), dizziness, motion sickness, tinnitus, ear pain, popping, pressure, sensitivity to noise, and light, it may be your neck causing all of your problems.
I started out with Vertigo after having a sinus infection. My regular M.D. gave me 7 days of Amox-Clav 500-125mg antibiotics and then another 10 days of a Doxyclycline Hycate 100 mg cap. I was still sick, so she yet prescribed a different one. I had yet to take the 3rd one, when I woke up in the morning with my world spinning, extremely nauseous, and scared. My husband took me to the E.R. where I was dx’d with vertigo. I was given Amoxicillin 875 mg tab for 10 days, meclizine, and Ondansetron ODT. I had to suffer for months with vertigo before I was able to get in to see an ENT specialist that specializes in dizziness and balance. I was sleeping most of the time, because of the vertigo. I started having severe pain behind both eyes, dizziness, sensitivity to light, noise, movement and busy places, ear pressure, ear popping, tinnitus (sounded like seashells), and motion sickness, as well as the vertigo. I also felt like I was hit in the base of my skull. Some days it was vertigo dizziness, other days, just dizziness and a feeling of being unbalanced, as well as the other symptoms as I mentioned.
The ENT specialist dx’d me with Vertigo (BPPV) and Vestibular Migraines (VM). He was able to use the Epley Manuever to alleviate the vertigo problem that was caused from the crystals being dislodged in my ear (BPPV). He wanted to put me on a beta blocker and an antidepressant for Vestibular Migraines. He said both of those may help. I was already on Celexa (an SSRI), so he wanted to change it to a different one. I refused both. I was NOT believing this diagnosis. He wanted to fit me into his box of having a history of migraines and a history of motion sickness, neither of which I had a history of. I kept telling the ENT the back of my head hurt at the base of my skull and behind my ears on the bone. It was being said to deaf ears, because this was not something within his narrative on the new Vestibular Migraine diagnosis.
Since I didn’t buy the VM dx, I was not about to give up. I felt awful and was sleeping all the time. After much research and frustration, I went to a new doctor who felt I could benefit from physical therapy, so she gave me a referral to a Vestibular Physical Therapist (VPT). The VPT said it is my neck muscles causing most of the problems, and believes all the antibiotics affected my inner ear. When I found out it was my neck causing almost all my problems, it was a very happy day, as there was now light at the end of my tunnel.
Through neck exercises, I quit having the migraines and the rest of the symptoms, unless I don’t do my exercises, then those symptoms are back and so is my misery. My VPT found a trigger for the occasional vertigo I have from the inner ear damage. Out of many patterns, a chevron pattern triggers mine. I am doing eye and head movement exercises while looking at a paper with that particular pattern. I am still working on my neck. It is amazing how our neck muscles can cause all of the same problems as VM’s.
Sternocleidomastoid muscles – both sternal and clavicular divisions are what my problem area is and it does cause all of the symptoms of vestibular migraines. The exercises I have been given by my VPT can be found on the internet. I am doing SCM stretch/Side stretch, chin tucks, upper trap stretch, and others, as well as eye exercises to help with the inner ear issue. If you have doubts about having vestibular migraines like I did, have your doctor refer you to a vestibular physical therapist. Your therapist can dx you and show you the proper way to do the exercises that can help you get better!